Visualizing 10 Years of Global EV Sales by Country
In 2011, around 55,000 electric vehicles (EVs) were sold around the world. 10 years later in 2021, that figure had grown close to 7 million vehicles.
With many countries getting plugged into electrification, the global EV market has seen exponential growth over the last decade. Using data from the International Energy Agency (IEA), this infographic shows the explosion in global EV sales since 2011, highlighting the countries that have grown into the biggest EV markets.
The Early EV Days
From 2011 to 2015, global EV sales grew at an average annual rate of 89%, with roughly one-third of global sales occurring in the U.S. alone.
|Year||Total EV Sales||CAGR|
|Total sales / Avg growth||1,448,162||89.3%|
In 2014, the U.S. was the largest EV market followed by China, the Netherlands, Norway, and France. But things changed in 2015, when China’s EV sales grew by 238% relative to 2014, propelling it to the top spot.
China’s growth had been years in the making, with the government offering generous subsidies for electrified cars, in addition to incentives and policies that encouraged production. In 2016, Chinese consumers bought more EVs than the rest of the world combined—and the country hasn’t looked back, accounting for over half of global sales in 2021.
EV Sales by Country in 2021
After remaining fairly flat in 2019, global EV sales grew by 38% in 2020, and then more than doubled in 2021. China was the driver of the growth—the country sold more EVs in 2021 than the rest of the world combined in 2020.
|Country||2021 EV Sales||% of Total|
|South Korea 🇰🇷||119,402||1.8%|
|Rest of Europe 🇪🇺||469,930||6.9%|
|Rest of the World 🌍||313,129||4.6%|
China has nearly 300 EV models available for purchase, more than any other country, and it’s also home to four of the world’s 10 largest battery manufacturers. Moreover, the median price of electric cars in China is just 10% more than conventional cars, compared to 45-50% on average in other major markets.
Germany, Europe’s biggest auto market, sold nearly 700,000 EVs in 2021, up 72% from 2020. The country hosts some of the biggest EV factories in Europe, with Tesla, Volkswagen, and Chinese battery giant CATL either planning or operating ‘gigafactories’ there. Overall, sales in Europe increased by 65% in 2021, as evidenced by the seven European countries in the above list.
The U.S. also made a comeback after a two-year drop, with EV sales more than doubling in 2021. The growth was supported by a 24% increase in EV model availability, and also by an increase in production of Tesla models, which accounted for half of U.S. EV sales.
Tesla’s Dominance in the U.S.
Tesla is the world’s most renowned electric car company and its dominance in the U.S. is unmatched.
Between 2011 and 2019, Tesla accounted for 40% of all EVs sold in the United States. Furthermore, Tesla cars have been the top-selling EV models in the U.S. in every year since 2015.
|EV Model||2021 Sales||% of 2021 U.S. EV Sales|
|Tesla Model Y*||185,994||29.5%|
|Tesla Model 3*||147,460||23.4%|
|Ford Mustang Mach-E||27,140||4.3%|
|Chevy Bolt EV/EUV||24,828||3.9%|
|Tesla Model S*||15,545||2.5%|
|Tesla Model X*||7,985||1.3%|
Share of total sales calculated using total U.S. EV sales of 631,152 units, based on data from the IEA.
Tesla accounted for over 50% of EV sales in the U.S. in 2021 with the Model Y—launched in 2019—taking the top spot. Furthermore, the Model Y remained the bestselling EV in the first quarter of 2022, with Tesla taking up a massive 75% of the EV market share.
Despite Tesla’s popularity, it could face a challenge as other automakers roll out new models and expand EV production. For example, General Motors aims to make 20 EV models available by 2025, and Ford expects to produce at least 2 million EVs annually by 2026. This increase in competition from incumbents and new entrants could eat away at Tesla’s market share in the coming years.
Visualized: Inside a Lithium-Ion Battery
Lithium-ion batteries are critical for many modern technologies, from smartphones to smart cities. Here’s how this critical technology works.
What’s Inside a Lithium-Ion Battery?
Winning the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2019, the lithium-ion battery has become ubiquitous and today powers nearly everything, from smartphones to electric vehicles.
In this graphic, we partnered with EnergyX to find out how these important pieces of technology work.
Lithium-ion batteries have different standards in various regions, namely NMC/NMCA in Europe and North America and LFP in China. The former has a higher energy density, while the latter has a lower cost.
Here is the average mineral composition of a lithium-ion battery, after taking account those two main cathode types:
|Material||% of Construction|
The percentage of lithium found in a battery is expressed as the percentage of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) the battery contains. On average, that is equal to 1g of lithium metal for every 5.17g of LCE.
How Do They Work?
Lithium-ion batteries work by collecting current and feeding it into the battery during charging. Normally, a graphite anode attracts lithium ions and holds them as a charge. But interestingly, recent research shows that battery energy density can nearly double when replacing graphite with a thin layer of pure lithium.
When discharging, the cathode attracts the stored lithium ions and funnels them to another current collector. The circuit can react as both the anode and cathode are prevented from touching and are suspended in a medium that allows the ions to flow easily.
Despite making up only 7% of a battery’s weight on average, lithium is so critical for manufacturing lithium-ion batteries that the U.S. Geological Survey has classified it as one of 35 minerals vital to the U.S. economy.
This means refining lithium more effectively is critical to meeting the demand for next-generation lithium-ion batteries.
EnergyX is powering the clean energy transition with the next generation of lithium metal batteries with longer cycle life, greater energy density, and faster charging times.
Ready to join the energy transition? Learn how with EnergyX.
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